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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

1 in Davao missing as storm Kabayan lashes Mindanao

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A man went missing and thousands of people were sheltering in evacuation centers Monday as Tropical Storm Kabayan hit Mindanao, causing scattered flooding and power cuts, and disrupting sea and air travel in Central Visayas.

Disaster officials said 6,723 persons or 2,190 families were displaced in the Caraga region in northeast Mindanao due to Kabayan. Most of them were staying in 48 evacuation centers.

The storm (international name Jelawat) weakened into a low-pressure area by Monday evening as it raked across Mindanao after making landfall in the morning, but the state weather service said the threat of floods and landslides remained.

Police in Manay municipality in Davao Oriental, where Kabayan made landfall, reported one man missing at the swollen Casaoman River that bisects the coastal town of about 40,000 people.

“A local man ignored warnings and went to gather coconuts floating on the river. It is suspected he’s been swept away,” acting Manay police chief Major Meliton Sango said.

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Two areas of Manay reported knee-deep floodwaters as the river overflowed, the officer said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 11,729 persons or 3,428 families were evacuated in Caraga and Northern Mindanao.

The Surigao del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) said that some of its displaced residents were staying in evacuation centers.

PDRRMO head Alex Arana told radio dzBB that as of Monday morning, there were 19,362 persons or 5,454 families in 83 evacuation centers in the province.

Kabayan was forecast to plow across the south of the country for the rest of the day, with the weather service warning of heavy rain, especially in the mountainous interior.

“Under these conditions, flooding and rain-induced landslides are likely especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards,” its latest storm bulletin said.

The coast guard reported widespread shipping disruptions as sailing

restrictions were put in place to prevent accidents in rough seas.

More than 1,000 passengers were stranded in Central Visayas after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) suspended sea travels as Kabayan brought heavy rains on Monday.

Commander Mark Larsen Mariano, PCG-Central Visayas spokesperson, said they started suspending travel by sea Sunday due to the storm.

As of Monday afternoon, the PCG in Central Visayas recorded 1,295 passengers stranded as they canceled trips of 34 passenger vessels and 200 rolling cargoes.

“Some 53 vessels took shelter in different areas,” Mariano said.

He said 31 trips were canceled on Sunday, mostly bound for Leyte, Camotes Islands, Samar, Olango Island, Hilongos in Leyte province, Cagayan de Oro, Ormoc in Leyte, Talibon, Tubigon and Calbayog.

On Monday, another 12 trips bound for Surigao, Ormoc, Bohol, San Carlos City, Poro in Camotes Island and Isabela were also canceled.

The PCG in Central Visayas and its stations and substations activated their Deployable Response Group (DRG) to rapidly respond to any eventualities brought by the bad weather.

The city government on Monday evacuated over 300 stranded passengers to the Cebu City Sports Center, providing them with food and temporary shelter while waiting for the resumption of trips to different provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport canceled six flights bound for Siargao Island, Surigao province and Ozamis as the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, in its 11 a.m. severe weather bulletin, reported that Kabayan had made landfall over the town of Manay in Davao Oriental.

Negros Oriental Gov. Manuel Sagarbarria pledged support to hundreds of passengers who were stranded in the province due to the cancellation of sea travel because of Kabayan.

“We are thankful that the intensity of Kabayan has weakened but many people from other areas have been stranded and so we will extend whatever assistance we can give, such as food packs,” he said.

At least 325 people were stranded in three passenger terminals across the province.

Sagarbarria on Sunday also issued Executive No. 51, suspending all classes at all levels in both public and private schools due to the weather condition brought about by Kabayan.

Classes and work are suspended in the provinces of Bohol and Siquijor while there are no classes in all levels for Negros Oriental.

Cebu province, on the other hand, left the decision to suspend classes to the different towns and cities.

The administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense, Undersecretary Ariel Nepomuceno, assured local government units that the national government was ready to extend immediate assistance to those affected by the storm.

“The national government is on board. We are continuously monitoring the situation and coordinating with different agencies as well as with our regional counterparts on preparedness and response operations for Kabayan. Appropriate protocols have been activated in different regions to be affected by this tropical cyclone,” he said.

Kabayan is only the 11th storm this year, so far equaling a record low set in 1998, according to weather service data.

Kabayan weakened into a remnant low-pressure area on Monday afternoon.

It was moving northwestward at 25 km/h and was forecast to track generally northwestward or west northwestward traversing the archipelago over the next two days, the weather bureau said.

It will continue to cross the rugged terrain of Mindanao and emerge over the Sulu Sea between Monday afternoon and evening.

The weather bureau said the shear line coinciding with the passage of the remnants of Kabayan may bring heavy rainfall over the eastern portion of Southern Luzon. With AFP

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